Joseph Kavaloski discusses the future of Divock Origi’s Liverpool career with it unclear where the Belgian stands in Jürgen Klopp’s plans.
Since Jürgen Klopp took the helm almost two full seasons ago, Divock Origi has been a changed man in a Liverpool shirt.
Under Brendan Rodgers, the youngster failed to make much of an impact and was often overlooked. Klopp, however, immediately entrusted the Belgian (partially due to an injury crisis soon after he took over) and has since seen the striker show flashes of the dynamic striker he could become.
At only 22 years of age, it is difficult to imagine another Liverpool youngster with more potential than Divock Origi. The Belgian international has racked up 21 goals over the past two seasons and his energy off the ball has endeared him to Klopp.
Blessed with dynamic pace and underrated strength, Origi has all the physical tools needed to become a top rate striker. Unfortunately, he also has a tendency to be loose with his touch and fade in and out of matches.
The former Lille striker has made almost 80 appearances in a red shirt over the past two seasons, but these issues have prevented him from earning a regular place in the starting eleven.
Roberto Firmino has firmly established himself in front of his Belgian teammate and a fully fit Daniel Sturridge can also be difficult to leave on the bench behind Origi.
As a result, Origi appears to be at best, second choice, and at worst, third choice. Sturridge’s persistent injury issues and Firmino’s high intensity playing style do lead to opportunities for Origi, but if either of those two players are healthy, Origi almost always starts on the bench.
Particularly in a year without European competitions, finding playing time for the Belgian was difficult at times. His youth limited his short-term effectiveness on the pitch but it also required match time for development, giving Klopp a tricky situation to handle. Luckily, Origi was able to receive a decent amount of time on the pitch, but not enough to really begin to establish himself in the starting eleven.
With the Reds finally achieving the tantalising proposition of Champions League participation, there will be many more matches for Origi to potentially play a part in. That said, being in Europe’s elite competition also gives Liverpool more firepower when recruiting players from across the continent.
Two prominent names to be linked with the Reds from reliable sources have been Mohamed Salah and Gelson Martins. Neither of these players are out and out strikers, but both have the versatility to play multiple attacking positions.
Ordinarily, neither of these players would threaten Origi’s playing time being that he is primarily used as a striker, but Klopp’s tendency to use a “false nine” could open up the possibility of either potential newcomer operating in Origi’s favoured position.
To further worsen matters for the Belgian, Liverpool have also been tenuously linked with Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette. The sources behind this rumour are far less reliable than those behind Martins and Salah, but if the Frenchman were to make his way to Anfield, an argument can be made that Origi’s Liverpool career could soon be over.
The Reds have not yet made a major splash in the transfer market thus far, but it seems as though Klopp is hunting for quality in the transfer market. Origi has played well for the Reds in limited periods, but if a top class player such as the aforementioned three end up on Merseyside, the Belgian could be squeezed out of almost all playing time.
To prevent himself from becoming completely overlooked, Origi needs to impress the coaching staff this summer. The Reds could use further production from their strikers and Origi could be the answer, but if a big name attacker is brought in and the Belgian does not show significant improvement, his time at Anfield could be coming to an end.
Origi has the potential to become a fantastic player, but he needs to refine his technical ability and become more consistent. These areas are not easy to improve for a young player, but if Origi wants to find regular playing time at a Champions League club like Liverpool, he needs to improve to make the grade.